Sunday, February 19, 2017

Difficult Women - Roxane Gay

Difficult Women is a short story anthology by Roxane Gay, whose work is always thought-provoking and deep. Some of these stories are only a few pages long, while others are much longer, making every story a bit of a surprise, but all of them are interesting and well written. There's a lot of repetition of themes here - violence and rape, which shouldn't surprise you if you've read anything else of Gay's, but also long winters, miscarriages or other ways to lose children, and twins, which was one theme I was not exactly expecting. The stories themselves range wildly in topic but nearly always come down to a woman who might be called difficult, as per the title of the book. 

The real issue with this book is that it's all short stories, and not the full length novel virtually every one of these pieces deserved. Gay draws me in to each world, each character, and their dilemmas are fascinating and real. I wanted to find out what happened next for almost all of them. The slices of these stories she chooses to present are so vivid and real that I was sad to see them go. The longer stories are the worst for this, as the more I learned the more I wanted to know. 

Overall a really solid read, that deserves to be read thoughtfully and with time. I wish I had had the opportunity to spend more time with it. I'd give it four stars, and I'm definitely going to keep devouring Gay's work at every available opportunity. 

This review has also been crossposted to CannonballRead, a race to read and review 52 books in a year! 

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